Towns laud infrastructure spending, money for firefighting
The provincial government is pumping a record $135.5 million into municipal infrastructure around the province this year.
“ There’s a good deal of infrastructure money there that is badly needed. In fact, it’s the largest amount of money that’s ever been spent on infrastructure in the province. Good stuff,” said Harry Hallett, president of Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador, also the mayor of Leading Tickles.
Overall, Hallett said the budget is fair considering the times.
The province’s spending on municipal infrastructure - up 22 per cent over last year - will help municipalities get $53.4 million from the federal government, it was announced in Monday’s budget.
With towns and cities throwing in their share, total spending on municipal infrastructure will be $225 million.
Municipalities are also being given $2.5 million to buy fire trucks this fiscal year, as part of a $7.6-million four-year project. They will also get $1 million this year to help upgrade and replace firefighting equipment.
Corner Brook Mayor Neville Greeley said the budget is great for the province as a whole, but was pleased with what municipalities got - money for roads, fire trucks and equipment and other infrastructure.
“From the municipalities’ perspective it was a good news budget,” Greeley said.
Woodrow French, mayor of Conception Bay South said it was a pleasure to hear the provincial finance minister announce increases in infrastructure spending for roads, bridges and buildings.
Four years ago, his town identified about $120 million worth of infrastructure projects. Topping the list are a new stadium and town hall. “ We’re looking forward to funding for our infrastructure needs, such as a town hall, stadium and other recreational items that we need,” French said.
“ We’re working on that. If it takes us eight or 10 years to do, we’d be happy with that - as long as we keep moving forward.”
French said town employees are in different buildings all over town and the stadium is “ busting at the seams.”
“ The problem we’ve got is we’re a town now that’s bigger than the City of Corner Brook. People are demanding the services, and because we don’t have a business base, it’s really difficult to do it.
“ So, seeing an increase from the provincial government is certainly good news for us.”
French was also pleased to hear the C.B.S. bypass extension will go to tender this year and the College of the North Atlantic campus in Seal Cove will get $ 2.5 million in upgrades.